The Philippine Coast Guard (ReCAAP Focal Point) reported to the ReCAAP ISC that six gunmen dressed in black suits with masks used a grey speedboat with twin-engine (40 HP) and abducted eight crew from a Malaysia-registered fishing trawler (with marking SSK 00543).
The fishing trawler was found abandoned and with no crew on board on 17 January 2020 at about 1500 hrs at approximately 4.24 nm off Pulau Tambisan, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia.
The Philippine authorities were conducting maritime patrols in the area, particularly near the Sulade island (which was believed to be the staging area of the perpetrators). The Philippine and Malaysia authorities are stepping up their patrol efforts, conducting pursuit operations and intensifying its military operation to locate the five abducted Indonesian crew.
This is the first abduction of crew incident reported in 2020. There were two incidents of abduction of crew reported in 2019 (on 18 Jun and 23 Sep). All the abducted crew from the two incidents in 2019 were rescued and released.
In the event that the ship master is not able to establish contact with the Operation Centres of the Philippines as listed in the ReCAAP ISC Advisory, he can contact the Philippine Coast Guard Command Centre at the following contact details: